The year 2020 is synonymous to a global crisis like no other. The word COVID was introduced to us, and it would be an understatement to say that it has become an indispensable part of our lives since. For Thailand, where tourism contributes to over 15% of the country’s GDP, the global pandemic hit hard resulting in a near-shutdown on tourism for a good six months at least.
But how does it affect you as a traveler? What can you expect to see till the situation gets better? And what after that? We are sure you must have had these questions at one stage or another. So let’s get to it!
With the onset of 2021, the country has slowly but surely moved towards pumping life into the hibernating sector of tourism. Thailand has been successful in containing the spread of the catastrophic virus much like the majority of Southeast Asia. But this success has come at a price. Countless businesses have gone in a stump, as the country closed its doors to foreign tourists for much of last year.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that the country was on the brink of relaxing its norms before an unprecedented second wave came into the picture. As the number of cases increases, you can expect a delay in the re-entry of foreign tourists. Until a certain slowdown is on the horizon, you have to accept that things will take time.
Covid Impact on Thailand – The New Reality
So while all of us collectively move towards a new reality, here is how you can make the most out of the situation.
Support local businesses
- It costs nothing to be a responsible traveller. When exploring a place, make it a point to choose locally run businesses over international chains or brands. For instance, if you are looking for guided treks in Chiang Rai (when tourism reopens), opt to go for a small scale, reliable service provider over an international company.
- What better time to explore the innate beauty of this country? From the highlands of Chiang Rai Province in the north to the surreal Hat Talo-Kapo Beach in Pattani in the South. This is your chance to experience the true Thailand – without the hustle-bustle of tourists, that too!
Use the downtime to learn a new language
- Even though the current situation might have kept you from being in the grandeur of Thailand, you can instead use all this time to learn Thai. Imagine how helpful that would be – to be able to converse with locals and revel in the Thai culture once tourism reopens. So why wait?
- Pick up that weary old rucksack of yours, pack a few clothes, (don’t forget your safety kit too), and get going on that long-due journey of yours. If you are a Thai local, be aware that there are not a lot of restrictions to travel within the country. So make the most of this time and revel in the wonder that this country offers.
Finally, some time to tick off your wishlist
- Lest you forget all those ‘To-dos’ you have refrained from for so long. This is the best time to tick off all those things you have dreamt of! Dreamt of a motorcycle tour experience? Rent one and explore the national park of Doi Inthanon! Get on that idea! Wanted to solo-travel through Pai? Now is the time!
While waiting for Covid – Thailand Tourism
Once the tourism sector picks up its pace, and once restrictions are lifted, there is no doubt that it will spurt a new lease in life for businesses and tourists alike. Here is what we can expect after tourism fully reopens-
Hygiene is a priority
- Let’s face it, travelling will never be the same again. That necessarily isn’t a bad thing if you look at the grander scheme of things. Sanitation and safety will be at the heart of every experience offered. Not only will that ensure that your health is not compromised, but it will also create a host of new jobs.
- But what does it mean for you? Safe and clean hotel rooms, hygienic and healthy food and top-of-the-line safety standards. Isn’t that pleasing?
Well deserved maintenance periods
- Hotels, restaurants and even tourist cities as a whole could do with this much-required downtime. Most of the tourism industry observed a well-deserved maintenance period, where products and services were either overhauled or improved in general.
- Here is what you can expect as a result of this:
- Better customer support
- Upgrade in services like housekeeping and in-house dining
Environmental and community-pro tourism
- The sense to do good as a species has never been more. At a time of a crisis, where so many of us have struggled across the globe, there is an innate desire to support the two core pillars of tourism – Environment and community. Whether it be initiatives to close down beaches to tourists to help nature rejuvenate, or the collective effort to build harmonious relations with countless tribes across the country. Tourism is no more selfish!
Increased technological awareness
- Due to the peculiar sensibility towards social distancing, more and more vendors and service providers are turning to technology. Self-check-ins in hotels and contactless restaurant deliveries are just a couple of such examples. Here Are a few tips to get you started for this:
- Download essential travel apps (Traveloka, Google Translate and Klook are just a few)
- Pre-download all your documents to your phone
- Purchase a Thailand SIM card upon arrival
An increase in long-term travels
- The explosive shift to work-from-home routines boosted a not-so-old concept in this sector. With the ability to work on the go; all-the-while travelling and exploring new countries, we are already seeing a rise in this type of travel. But how can you gain from this, you ask?
- The ability to travel and efficiently work at the same time
- Customized tour packages as per your liking
- The freedom to pick and drop experiences on your trips
- A deeper understanding of local cultures
- And lastly, cost-effective traveling!
If you are someone who is looking forward to visiting Thailand after the restrictions are lifted, here is what you can expect/do –
- Stay vary of crowded tourist attractions like Phuket and Bangkok
- Take an advantage of subsidized hotel rates
- Choose intricate experiences over commercial ones to aid the recovering economy
- Because of a less-than-normal tourist influx, you’d be able to enjoy an even more beautiful Thailand
There is no denying that COVID-19 affected each of us in one way or another. But, as a traveler, if there is one thing you excel at, it is to make the very best of each opportunity.